I figure now is just as good a time as any, to talk about what’s it like to travel with a big, yeller dog, seeing how three weeks ago today we rolled out of St. Louie.
Being prompt is not my forte.
It’s taken me this long to get into a routine. There are so many different considerations — who eats first, who poops first, how far I have to go for coffee, how far I have to go to find a blade of grass for her to be inclined to pee on, how hot it is, how safe it is, how dog friendly it is, you know, the usual stuff. But I think we’ve got it down.
Rest stops, she gets out first, me second, park in the shade and hurry up — me not her. At hotels and homes, I usually wake up before my iPhone alarm goes off. I foolishly set it thinking I’ll get some writing in at the crack of crack, but I tend to just hit the snooze and roll over. Old habits die hard. From the moment I wiggle my toes under the blanket though, time is of the essence, Lib will want to go out. I miss being able to simply open the back door and say, “Go for it”
She’s really patient though, she allows me to (a) figure out which city, hotel, or home I’m in, (b) check emails on my phone, which I sleep with (pathetic) and (c) do a few yoga exercises to stretch my crippled back. I brought my mama’s quilt to do them on. This makes me happy.
But before I can traipse down to the horrible continental breakfast and watered-down coffee, I have to take care of her needs. This is a good thing, it makes you accountable to somebody other than yourself.
Elevators were worrisome to her at first. It was that damn, hurling down the elevator shaft to a certain death crack, that tripped her up. She’s cool with it now.
With the heat, I have to get her out of the car and into the house or hotel right away, telling her to stay, followed by the “no bark” command, which occasionally works, as I trot up and down the stairs to unload. I’ve learned to stop in the cheap motor courts where you can park right at the door. Plus, you meet the nicest people!
Eating, that’s a whole nother deal. I have to look for places to dine outside, and when it’s 98 degrees, it’s easier to get take-out and head for the comfort of the rattling window air conditioner at the motel. In Winston-Salem, I took Libby out for a drink at the Single Brothers Bar. VERY dog friendly, thanks Mitchell.
Since it is hotter than hell right now, she’s shedding like crazy, so I’ve stopped to vacuum the car a couple of times. It really didn’t do much good. I figure I’ve eaten about as much dog dander as the car grill has eaten bugs on this trip.
Lib and I are pretty scrappy. I’ve only had three situations where I felt like a Castaway in a sea of humanity. In Philly, I needed a bathroom and it was too hot to leave her in the car. I took her right in the stall with me
In NYC, I needed to FAX something, and the line at the FedEx was prohibitive. As luck would have it, I’d passed a bank a block back, advertising their dog-friendliness. They faxed the document for free and even gave Lib a doggie treat.
Hotel and restaurant adventures notwithstanding, I think the best times are when we stay with friends and I get to eat real food and drink real coffee out of real cups. I was EVEN able to leave Libby for an hour to go run errands. She worked her magic on the Dease’s.
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We get up together, we go to bed together. We spoon. Not so pathetic. Libby is my best friend right now. We protect each other and I love her very much. But, when we’re at somebody’s house, as opposed to hotel nights, where I give her carte blanc, she’s relegated to the floor. Poor puppy, she’s gonna need some therapy by the time we get back to St. Louie.